Quality Products International

China QC Inspection Blog

QPI needs hard-line inspectors in Shandong

by on Jun.19, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

Quality Products International Limited is conducting QC work in Shandong province.

We are looking for qualified and experienced hard-line inspectors and Auditors in Shandong province for part-time work.

Timing would range from sporadic to several days per week.

If you are qualified, experienced, based in Shandong and available for part-time / freelance work, please contact QPI Ltd.

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Reminder. QC requires proactive vigilance!

by on May.31, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

Many people in the industry use reference to major brands such as Disney as a hallmark for their own quality credibility.

Most self respecting trading companies will have at least one Disney product in a prominent position in their showroom.

The story in the Shanghai Daily is a stark reminder of need for proactive vigilance in QC.

While there is almost certainly a “back story”, manufacturers and brand owners / managers can certainly take one thing away from the story. If you brand is associated with QC failure it will quickly tarnish your reputation!

Disney products fail watchdogs’ quality tests

DISNEY products were among the 10 percent of children’s clothes, shoes and toys that failed recent quality tests, city watchdogs said yesterday.

Officials said some clothes tested may cause skin allergies, as they had a higher pH index than the country’s standard. A pair of Roberta di Camerino children’s pants was found to have a pH index of 8.4, well above the 7.5 upper permitted limit, said the industrial and commercial bureau.

Products that failed to meet standards have been removed from shop shelves, officials said.

Full Story:  Shanghai Daily

Two broad comments spring to mind.

Firstly to be fair to Disney, the details are scant! There is so much “knock off” product and “factory second” / reject product on the market, that the product discovered by the “watch dog” may well be product from a rejected shipment.

The “Micky & Friends” Fireworks in the QPI Ltd CNY blog are a prime example of something probably not compliant and well out of Disney’s control, yet clearly (and falsely) associated with the brand.

Certainly if you look at Apple, iPhone, iPad etc, there is a plethora of product available that is branded Apple, however it would be fair to say it more “inspired by” Apple than a genuine Steve Jobs creation!

Secondly, and more importantly, the article is a stark reminder about the need for vigilance in QC.

It is something that can become tedious, and may be seen as an expense, however the process and costs associated can be managed! There are many well qualified companies that can support the process in a cost effective manner.

QPI Ltd has packages to assist in managing the QC liaison with factories.  Our production monitoring package has a very low cost and provides very good value. We can provide some all important DUPRO (During Process Inspection – which gives clients and early warning opportunity for problems, so they can be solved with minimal impact to cost and schedule) as well as the main stay FRI / PSI (Final Random Inspection / Pre Shipment Inspection).

There are of course many other important elements such as supervising sample selection to ensure lab samples are representative of the entire shipment. Of course if the shipment fails, the issue of negotiating rework or destruction and disposal can become complicated and certainly needs a very high level of vigilance!

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QPI Ltd looking for auditors with experience in BSCI standard

by on May.13, 2011, under China, China QC Inspection Blog

文章简体中文文章繁體中文

Quality Products International Limited is looking for skilled auditors especially in the Ningbo and Pearl River Delta region that have experience with Auditing to BSCI standard.

Please contact QPI Ltd

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New EU Toy Directive Demands More Strict Product Documentation

by on Apr.29, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

Updated toy EU directives introduces elements that manufacturers have seen in standard such as EN13138 for some time now.

It should be noted that the “manufacturer” is typically the brand owner that commissions the manufacture and import rather than the factory in the case of OEM production.

New Obligations for Manufacturers

Manufacturers will be required to ensure that documentation for all their new and existing products meets the new technical documentation requirements. A new requirement is that manufacturers will have to draft an EC Declaration of Conformity (DoC) for each product. This declaration, along with all technical documentation, must now be kept on file by the manufacturer for ten years after placing the product on the market. Along the DoC, product instructions and safety information must be included.

Additionally, products must be marked with the name and address of the manufacturer and the importer, as well as a relevant product type, batch or serial number, and CE mark.

Read Full Article SGS

Connect on Linked In

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QPI Ltd discussion on factory vs trading company

by on Apr.06, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

There was recently a post and discussion on Linked In

What are the best methods to confirm that a Chinese company is a manufacture and not a trading company?

From my experience in china so far I waste too much time trying to verify that a company is a factory and not a trading company. Except visiting the factory, does any one have suggestions on how to check this issue More effectively?

The comments were wide ranging and constructive. The reply I posted was:

A deal may still be workable and in some cases better via a trading company, for the various reasons stated above.

None the less, I think it is fair to know who you are dealing with.

We have at encountered trading companies that swear blindly that they “own”, “have shares in” or have “JV’ed” with a factory making a certain product sample in their show room.

…little did they know that I was family friends with factory owner and knew who owned the tooling in question!

One should also be a little cautious simply sighting paper work. Those people hanging around HQBei Metro exits saying ” ‘piao” can make more than just receipts, and I have seen some excellent “documents” of various formats.

There are two services that QPI Ltd offer.

Company Checks
We offer credit / background checks for companies in most Mainland provinces.

Audits
A full quality / capacity or social / ethical audit that would suit a major retailer can be expensive.

We can offer those, or a simple “lite audit” to provide a basic overview to address initial queries.

Of course the other option is to simply visit the factory.

Even visiting the factory, it can still be difficult to determine for sure if you are in fact “dealing with the factory direct”, or through a trading company that has a close and co-operative relationship with the factory.

At the end of the day, the question is, do you feel comfortable and trust the people you are working with, and does the deal stack up?

Contact QPI Ltd for further information about our services.

See full discussion on Linked In

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Legislative Directives for cleaner products, QPI Ltd can help you comply

by on Mar.28, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

文章简体中文 – 文章繁體中文

With the development of the global economy, people pay more attention to the green consumer goods, and prefer to choose the products that do no harm to people’s health or the environment.

To ensure the product quality and safety, European countries and the US have introduced many regulations in these years. Ie>, the EU published 2009/251/EC on March 17, 2009 to forbid companies to sell products with DMFU.

In June 2010, California Proposition 65 requires the importers, manufacturers and retailers of footwear and leather goods to impose strict control on products that contain restricted substances such as lead and phthalates, otherwise the product sales are illegal. Also, starting from 1st July , 2010, the EU directive 2009/425/EC will restrict the content of Organotin in consumer goods. In addition, the continuous updates of the CPSIA and REACH will bring more and more challenges to China’s companies.

Contact QPI Ltd for assistance with third party independent sampling from factory production and / or lab testing to confirm your product is compliant.

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Canada reduced lead limits of specific consumer goods – mouth contact and under 3 year old

by on Mar.14, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

文章简体中文 – 文章繁體中文

The Canadian government recently announced that: According to the mouth contact users or toys used by under 3 years children, the lead limit must bellow 90mk/kg. the releated laws and regulations will take effected from 26th Nov,2010.

Contact QPI Ltd, if you need assiatnce testing your product.

Our staff can liasie with your factory and if approriate we can send inspectors to collect samples.

All testing is performed by QPILtd lab partners, whih have relevant arreditaions.

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China almost back to normal after CNY ~ will your production be OK?

by on Mar.04, 2011, under China QC Inspection Blog

The official end to CNY is the Lantern Festival.

So that means all is back to normal right? Well maybe maybe not. As we detail below QPI Ltd is recommending additional vigilance, by way of Dupro as well as PSI to ensure you protect the investment of your production / shipment, now more than any other time in the year!

Of note, the Spring Lantern Festival in China should not be confused with the Mid Autumn festival, also referred to as a “lantern festival”, and especially popular in Singapore and other parts of South East Asia.

The Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the lunar year, is the last “official” family celebration, and is typically market with a meal including Yan Xiao, or Glutinous Rice normally wrapped in bamboo or leaves.

There are many different beliefs and traditions, including the notion of having bright lanterns out to welcome the full moon, lighting the way for people out enjoying the advent of spring, and fostering relationships between families.

It was also traditional to chaperon young people with bright lanterns symbolic of good luck and prospective matchmaking.

In terms of business, it meant that the family obligation for CNY was officially over. While many people would have returned to work sooner many would not.

It was interesting to witness many of the small stores and street stalls did not reopen until a few days after the lantern festival.

You may have found factories have been returning emails since a few days after the week of “official CNY holiday”,  however in many cases delays in information will be due to the fact that key personnel are still a away.

We have had some suppliers who were waiting for middle managers to return to work to quote on new products.

Even now, well into March business ranging from major factories to small cafes are still working hard to attract the staff they need to function properly.

Finally now we are finding China is gradually coming back to normal business after their major holiday.

As we warned, in our QPI Ltd CNY Alert Blog, buyers should exercise extra caution.

QPI Ltd particularly recommend additional Dupro (During Production) Inspections.

A high majority of the workers on the factory floor / production line, will be new the factory, the industry of indeed the concept of factory / production!

Many middle managers and QC managers may also be new to the factory and your product.

It could in effect mean that the factory that was producing your product so reliably last year, is now effectively (from a work force & QC perspective) producing it for the first time!

QPI Ltd, is happy to help by providing, Dupro and FRI / PSI (Final Random Inspection / Pre Shipment Inspection) at a competitive rate.

 

Plan ahead for future CNY holidays, with a list of Chinese New Year Dates from QPILtd up until 2030.

CNY Days and Dates 2018 – 2030

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Foxconn says Emergencies are over!

by on Sep.16, 2010, under Asia Business, China, China QC Inspection Blog, General News

What a great headline! All is well in Foxconn and we can all get back to enjoying our little electronic toys and tools without having to worry about poor Chinese workers having to kill themselves in order to make a statement about working conditions.

OK I’ll admit sarcasm is not a good way to make a point but it is funny that this headline popped up a little after I wrote about the factory social audits that need to be done regularly. The problem is that only when you get down to the second half of the article in question is when you see what was done to fix the problem. Foxconn has doubled each workers wage over the past couple of months and at the same time it has reduced the amount of overtime hours from 80 hours per month to 36 hours per month. The funny thing is that previous to this announcement Foxconn professed to treat their workers better than anyone else and they had no cause to complain. Unfortunately 80 hours per month is more than double the international standard and is in fact more than double the amount allowed by Chinese law as well. So it seems that the workers were not being treated as well as they wished us to believe. Considering the problems that the company was having with its workers one might draw the conclusion that overtime was a requirement and not a request as is more common in the west (although one might think that is changing there too). In that case it is no wonder the poor workers were killing themselves. Sure they had all sorts of recreation facilities and activities but, if one is too tired to do anything except show up for work (since you have to work an extra 2 weeks every month just to keep your job), then what use are they?

Considering that the working conditions did not adhere to international standard nor local law, why did everyone say that the factories were fine? Of course there is a certain amount of ass covering in all this but one has to wonder if a proper third party social audit of the company and factories might have uncovered this a bit sooner and maybe headed off the problem to start with. Regular external audits of the factories and conditions should be part of any company’s strategy for doing business in China and the rest of S.E. Asia. QPI Ltd. Is well placed to help with such needs and is in an excellent position to provide independent audits of your manufacturing facilities.

For the full article in the China Daily online click here.

Author: M. Charlin

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Factory and Company Audits should be a regular event.

by on Aug.14, 2010, under Asia Business, China QC Inspection Blog, General News

A recent article from China started me thinking on how the Chinese economy will evolve in the coming years.  The article deals with the wages growth in the Chinese economy.

An income survey report, based on 5,866 enterprises in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou,
released by
Zhaopin.com in July, shows that the average wage rise was 10.1 percent so
far this year, 1.9 percentage points higher than 2009.

The statistics from Zhaopin.com show that from 2006 to 2008 wages steadily increased, with
the rate peaking at 13.8 percent in 2008. However, because of the financial crisis in 2009 the
rate dropped 8.2 percent, its lowest rate during the last five years.

“Although they are up again in 2010, and higher than 2007, the rate still hasn’t reached the peak
of 2008,” said Zhao Lipeng, senior payment consultant with Zhaopin.com. “However, in Beijing
the speed of the rises slowed, but wages still increased in 2009,” he added.

Zhao thinks that the 2008 peak is likely to be reached again sometime next year, which means
that many employees will remain disappointed this year.

“Last year, many employees didn’t get a pay rise because of the financial crisis and their
expectation this year is as high as 21.8 percent,” Zhao told METRO.

“I am still waiting for a rise this year and I hope it will be more than 30 percent,” said Eric Hu,
a 25-year-old, who works for a consulting company in Beijing.

The report shows that the top three industries for wage rises in Beijing are finance, IT and
advertising. Labor-intensive industries, such as manufacturing and the service industry, have
the lowest rises.

By Wang Chen: Wages Rise but don’t meet expectations, China.org,
http://www.china.org.cn/business/2010-07/28/content_20588480.htm

So what does this have to do with your manufacturing in China?  Well you can see that costs are going up. Labour is probably the biggest cost savings in moving manufacturing to China in the first place. Now you are seeing an average increase of just under 10% in the cost base.  Admittedly this is substantially less in the manufacturing industry but the cost is still increasing.  What does bear watching is that the export industry is not growing at the same rate.  The economies of the United States and Europe do not show the growth necessary to fuel this increase from China.

What can fuel income growth? Two main  thrusts, growth in markets increasing scarcity and thus profit, or increasing productivity which reduces costs and increases profits.  Considering the technology already available for manufacturing in Asia the idea of increased productivity being able to absorb this cost increase by itself is not sustainable in my opinion.  At some point Chinese manufacturers will have to look at other markets/products  or fail.  Either that or suddenly costs to manufacture in China will start to increase to keep pace with increased labour costs.  It happened in Japan and Taiwan and it will happen here.

Some manufacturers will stoop to cutting corners, not just on materials but also in labour areas.  This is an area that is rarely checked once the initial audit or survey is performed.  This lack has caused problems in the past.  A large sportswear manufacturer in the U.S. attracted much bad publicity due to the conditions in the factories where the products were produced.  Initial investigations by the company found things above board but, as cost pressures increased, unsavory practices crept in until someone found out. This cost the company a great deal of lost goodwill and money in cleaning up the problem.

Since labour is such a large component of costs of production in most cases it is seen as an area where there is scope for savings.  A more modern example is the issues currently facing Foxconn in China.  It is not enough to pay your workers well but to also treat them well.  Treating your labour force as just parts in a machine will eventually cause them to crack.  In earlier times this may have been the cost of doing business not only in China but in the West as well.  Just think back to the early days of the industrial revolution and the factories using women and young children.  However in the modern age these practices even if practiced elsewhere on the planet will reflect badly and publicly on the companies involved.

A yearly audit or survey should be part of a company’s standard operating procedure to combat such cost cutting and also to keep abreast of changes.  QPI Ltd. Offers a number of cost effective Audit services to keep your company informed of your partners in Asia both at the factory floor and their current solvency.

Author:   M. Charlin

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